I have been trying to perfect this recipe for some time now.
Growing up, in our family and in even in V’s, chappati, roti, phulka were interchangeable words for the same thing. When I came here, my friend who is from the south of India said that for them there is a difference between roti and chappati. She said, that in the south, chapati is traditionally made using a 3 fold process turning the dough into a triangular shape and then rolled out into a circle. Each layer is well oiled, resulting in thin layers. In my family (and even V’s), this is how we make a plain parantha.
A roti (or what we north indians also call chappati or phulka) are kind of like indian styled tortillas. Roti is a traditional unleavened whole-wheat bread which, depending on the cook, can be as thin as paper or thick as pita. Small portions of the dough are rolled out into discs much like a Mexican tortilla, using a rolling pin. The rolled-out dough is thrown on the preheated dry skillet and cooked on both sides. Sometimes after partially cooking it on the skillet/tawa, it is then put directly on a high flame, which makes it blow up like a balloon. The hot air cooks the chapati rapidly from the inside. In some parts of northern India (e.g. Punjab), this is called a phulka (that which has been inflated). After cooking, the top of the chappati/roti can be slathered with some ghee or butter. Deep fried versions are known as “poori”.